Tuesday, April 24, 2012

"I did come up with a great comparison between baptism and Super Mario 64 that I would absolutely love to use in a real teaching situation here..."

So, unfortunate combo for today. I don't have a lotta time to write, and also this is the worst computer I've used since coming to Peru and it freezes up every few seconds it seems like, so we'll see if I can still make this e-mail worth reading with this little obstacle in the way.

Well... uhh... Oh yeah, yesterday was District Conference in Lambayeque! The first Lambayeque District Conference ever because the District was just officially formed yesterday! Olmos has never ever been a part of district or a stake or anything up until yesterday, so this is a big deal! Being part of a district will be a much-needed blessing for the members of Olmos, so that's pretty aweXome.

Uhm. Also... Oh yeah, the mail situation. Well, there's no post office in Olmos, so I have to depend on my two free letters I get to send a month through my zone leaders to send mail these days. Not that I have a lot of mail to send, but now I just have an added restriction. I sent some the other week, so now I gotta wait until I can send more. Also since I never have time to write sometimes it takes me a way super long time to write a single letter (like, multiple weeks sometimes) so sometimes my letters might be getting to you like a bajillion years after you write me. But mostly I'm not sending people letters. Spoiler alert!: I sent out a letter to Elyse the other week, but I sent it to Eugene just because I had no idea when school gets out in Provo and didn't want to send it to an empty apartment. Also that was an unintentional Yellowcard reference. And I'm currently in the process of writing Reyn but who knows when the heck I'm gonna finish the letter, and then on top of that I have to wait forever to send it. But someday I will! Mail is just a silly mess.

Wow I have a severe lack of things to tell you about this week. Maybe its not the worst thing in the world that I'm short on time. I read 1 Nephi 13 during my personal study one day and realized it's probably my favorite chapter in the scriptures. It's the coolest ever! Talking about the Book of Mormon, the discovery of America and the early history of the United States. It's too cool. Nephi was a pretty neat prophet. The scriptures are the greatest.

Today for P-day we went to Motupe to spend the day with the elders there and to hike a mountain to see the famous Cruz de Motupe. It's a cross that's a huge deal here and people worship it. The hike was way mega awesome in terms of prettiness. I got a lot of pictures that I hope I'll be able to show you sometime before the end of the world. The cross was... well, it was a piece of wood. A piece of wood that was made by a man and is now for some reason worshipped by tons of people here. I don't quite get the religious beliefs here. How there are so many people who say they're Christian but they worship inanimate objects more than Jesus Christ and God the Father. I especially don't understand why of all things crosses are a big deal to worship. For one, they are inanimate pieces of wood. Second, the purpose of crosses is to take away a life. It was the weapon used to murder Jesus Christ. And now after so many years the doctrines and beliefs have been so skewed that now people worship these torture devices. People really do worship them. I saw it happen today. People pray to the crosses, and thank the crosses for the blessings and miracles that happen in their lives. Back home when we talk about idolatry in church or something we always have to come up with some obscure way that we can apply it to our lives. Like, I dunno, perhaps the extreme love of money could be compared to a form of idolatry, or the way the people put celebrities on a pedestal. But nah, down here you don't gotta do that. Down here idolatry is an actual thing that is extremely common. It's weird to watch. But I'm not here to judge. Just to share the gospel and teach people about our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I don't understand a lot of the beliefs and traditions here, but the people are good people. And the hike was pretty sicktastic and it was one of the better p-days I've had. Haha.

I seriously have nothing to say about this week. Ugh sorry. I did come up with a great comparison between baptism and Super Mario 64 that I would absolutely love to use in a real teaching situation here, except that Nintendo doesn't exist here and nobody would ever understand it. Haha. The scriptures compare baptism to a gate that you enter that will lead you to eternal life. Baptism is not the final step of our salvation, it's more like the first step. It opens the door that allows us to enter the path that leads us to eternal life, and if we're willing to endure to the end and follow that path, then we will eventually reach our goal of returning to live with our Father in Heaven.

The comparison to Mario 64 is this (you have no idea how badly I wish I could use this comparison to teach some kid who loves video games... haha): 

In Super Mario 64 there is a door you can open that leads to the final stage of the game, Bowser In The Sky. In this example, eternal life is comparable to that level, the final Bowser Stage. Which... is a little odd. But just go with it. To open this door you need to collect a certain amount of stars. Collecting the stars and opening the door is like being baptized. But once you go through the door there is a staircase that you have to climb to enter the final Bowser Stage. If you enter right away and start climbing the staircase you'll realize that the stairs never end, and you'll never reach your ultimate goal, even though you've opened the door, or gotten baptized. To actually get to the top of the staircase and enter the Bowser Stage you have to go collect more stars. Once you get 70 you'll finally be able to reach the top of the staircase and go to Bowser. So, like baptism, just because you've been baptized does not mean you automatically receive eternal life. If you get baptized and then just run right up the stairs without putting in any more work, you'll never get anywhere. Without putting in effort after your baptism you will not reach eternal life. You have to endure, and go out and collect those 70 stars to finally reach your goal. Now, when I thought of this comparison I thought it a little strange that I was comparing the final Bowser level to eternal life, because it's basically the most evil part of the game. Haha. But then I realized, it totally works. In the Bowser Stage right by the pipe you enter to actually reach Bowser, there is an extremely easy-to-get 1up, or extra life. If you ever die after that point, you always reappear right next to that extra life. No matter how many times you die, you can always grab that 1-up again, and you'll never get a Game Over. Eternal Life. BAM! Haha. I am the dumbest. If only I was called to the States where some people would understand that comparison. Emphasis on the word "some." I also have a great comparison of how a mission is like Zelda: Majora's Mask (I would...) that I thought of a long time ago during my first transfer in Pacasmayo. I don't have time to share that one, but maybe someday I will.

I was hoping I'd be able to send you some pictures this time, because I haven't for the past few weeks, but with this computer it's impossible. Plus I don't have time to do it. Sorry this is pretty much the worst e-mail I've ever sent. I'll try to send a better one next week. We won't be coming back to this internet cafe again, so hopefully we'll get to use better computers next time. I wish I remembered some of the questions you've asked me in your letters so I could at least respond to some of those, but I don't remember, and I'm outta time. So, until next week amigos! Transfers are also next week, so I'll know about that on Monday too. See ya!

-Elder Hemsley

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